Saturday, 20 March 2010

Hanging Out

I had a good day out with Vivien last week. We met up at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.

We spent most of our time at the Laing having a coffee and a chat, just catching up. She kindly gave me a turquoise silk scarf she didn't want (pays to put out the word!) and a key chain with a token that can be used in a grocery trolley instead of a pound coin. (Most supermarkets here have some sort of system to keep the trolleys from being taken off site, either an electronic sensor or just a £1 coin that you get back when you return the cart.)

The main feature at the Laing this time was a photographic exhibit about the pop bands in the 60s, mainly about the Beatles and the Stones. It was OK, but nothing to get wildly excited about. I thought the pictures of Jane Birkin and Marianne Faithful were the best part, to be honest (they both have official websites as well).

The best thing I've ever seen at the Laing was when they exhibited dresses designed by Bruce Oldfield and worn by the likes of Princess Diana and Jemima Goldsmith. The best thing I noticed this trip was this gorgeous art nouveau window.

Then we had lunch at Oldfields. It was incredibly good food. The service was excellent (and well it should be as they tack on 12.5% for it). The food is locally acquired. They seem to be in cahoots

with some of the local cultural venues, as our bill came with flyers for Opera North (as if) and some theatre, probably the Theatre Royal

up the road. A trip to the loo allowed me to satisfy my curiosity

about what the back looked like. As we were the last of the lunch group to leave, I snapped a few pictures. It is much as one would hope being part of Milburn

House, a truly amazing place. I have some photos from there I'll show you sometime (Sometime could be a major category in this blog, couldn't it?).

Then we went over to the Baltic to walk off our lunch. The Baltic used to be a flour mill. It is now

a venue for contemporary art. Fortunately, just as at the Laing, admission is free. Neither of us is

very appreciative of modern art.

At one point, seeing the name Damien Hirst on an exhibit gave me pause, as we'd just left an exhibit of bones (don't ask me!) upstairs and I remembered the link between culture an Oldfields restaurant. My meal had been named 'Mr Hirst's beef', but when I got home I was showing Bill the menu and I read that Mr. Hirst is also the name of a farmer in Northumberland who supplies them beef. Whew!

The best thing about the Baltic, I think, is the views of the

quayside. That, and the shop has some wonderful stuff in it, as did the shop at the

Laing. I think those shops may be where I do my Christmas shopping...


James said...

Sounds like a great day spent with a good friend.

TKW said...

I love your little walking tours! That stained glass window is magnificent!